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Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life
 
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Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Time Event
12:08p
Morning Highs
I take a blood sugar reading first thing after getting up, and ideally it should be under 110. I've been flirting with higher readings in the 11x range, but my doctor isn't worried about that, as morning highs are not unusual, he says. But this morning I had a 131, which really worried me. I'm working from home this morning before flying to Portland this afternoon, and things are lightly loaded, so after breakfast, Cheryl and I went for a walk down to the train station (incidentally confirming at which platform my train is scheduled to call) and back. I was rewarded with a nice, normal, reading of 101 an hour after breakfast.

Current Mood: relieved
1:30p
Just As Well I'm Taking the Smaller Luggage
I have three pieces of what I think of as "check" luggage: a large bag (what I took with me to Interaction), a medium bag (which I originally bought for, as I recall, ConFiction, and which also went with me to Intersection and Aussiecon Three), and a small (but still too large to carry on) bag, suitable for a weekend trip. The latter two have knocked around with me for a long time and are pretty worn. I've repaired them as best as I can, attaching metal plates to the small one to brace around places where the plastic frame has cracked. I'm too cheap to buy new luggage very often, you see. Besides, I bought that new bag for Interaction and then managed to damage it while hauling it between my dorm room at the SECC.

The place in Oregon is small -- a 29-foot travel trailer. Think "super efficiency apartment." There aren't a lot of places to stow luggage. As it happens, the one useful shelf is just the right size for the medium bag. But on a longer trip like this one, I would prefer the bigger one. Still, I resolved to fit things into the medium bag if possible.

Boy, there were a lot of things going into this bag. I've been accumulating "things to go to Oregon on the next trip" for a while, and they start to add up. And there's the CPAP machine and the second computer. (Before any of you start: I simply can't carry those and my own laptop backpack and briefcase as well. It's either put them in the checked luggage or don't take them at all, or don't take my own computer, which I need to work while I'm in Oregon.) An (unwrapped as yet) present for my father-in-law. (Lisa's gift was shipped directly to her.) A couple of bags of the good split peas that we haven't been able to find in stores up there. A Doubletree hotel cookie tin full of cashews (taped shut). And so forth. Oh, and a week's worth of clothing, almost as an afterthought, used as packing material around all of the other stuff. (We'll have to do laundry once while I'm in Oregon.)

Finally everything came together. I hefted the bag. Heavy. I took it to the scale, worrying about what I'd do if it was too heavy. 47 pounds, it says. Whew! If I'd taken the larger bag, I would have ended up packing more stuff, and gone over the weight limit.

Even if my home scale runs a little light, the bag probably doesn't weigh more than maybe 51 or 52 pounds, and my experience is that the agents will let you slide a couple of pounds. If they won't, well, I can take the can of cashews out and put it in my computer backpack, and otherwise trim a pound or three.

Material promised to my co-workers before Christmas have been delivered. They usually close the HQ office at 2 PM before a holiday anyway, so I'm about ready to knock off and eat lunch and kill some time until needing to leave to catch the 3:33 train from Centerville.

Current Mood: relaxed
10:00p
For Those Who Say Nobody Uses Public Transit
I caught the 3:33 Capital train out of Centerville without incident for the short trip up to Oakland Coliseum, where I did the hike over to Coliseum BART. (The straight-line distance is maybe 100 meters, but you have to climb up the long ramp to the overpass, because trying to cross the street there is madness.) As I trudged along, I caught sight of the queue for the AirBART bus that connects the station to Oakland Airport. It stretched clear down the block to the corner. There must have been over a hundred people in line. I started to worry that I might not make it to the airport in time, even though it was still two hours until my flight.

I bought a $2 BART ticket and joined the queue. Fortunately, buses were appearing every five minutes or so. Looks like whoever managed AirBART actually realized that they needed more capacity and quickly. They had pressed into service some airport parking shuttles, which aren't ideal for this service because they don't have a front door, meaning the driver has to come back and take fares by hand, but it's better than stranding people at the BART station.

After around twenty minutes, I was able to squeeze into a bus, and shortly thereafter I was at the airport. Then I remembered that I'd forgotten to do online check-in, so I had to get in the regular check-in line for Alaska Airlines, rather than the short "web bag drop" line. I saw plenty of open self check-in stations, and nobody using them. I asked the eight or ten people ahead of me, "Do any of you plan to use the check-in stations there that are open?" and when they all said no, I asked if I could go ahead of them and use one, which they allowed as I could and let me go.

I expected a huge line for security, but they had four people checking boarding passes and all of the security lines open, with the result being that I had almost no wait at all. I made it out to my gate with plenty of time to wait. The airport was very crowded, of course, but I was able to find a place to sit down and read for a while before the plane arrived.

Because I'd put off making my travel plans, I'd had to buy a first-class ticket, which fortunately was only expensive, not impossibly expensive. You don't get much extra in first class on such a short flight other than early boarding and a bigger seat, but it was still nice enough. We were slightly delayed because it took so long to load all of the luggage people were bringing, but otherwise it was an uneventful flight to Portland. After claiming my bag, I hopped onto light rail and rode over to Parkrose/Sumner, where Lisa was waiting for me. An advantage of traveling on a later flight than usual was that traffic wasn't so bad, and we got out of Portland and headed south, after stopping for dinner at the T/A truckstop (because they have pinball machines we like to play).

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